Ajisen Ramen (Melbourne Central)
211 La Trobe St
Melbourne, VIC 3000
03 9650 8986
I have to confess that for the past month or so, you’ve been reading blog posts that I’d pre-written during my flight to Bali (that was back in Easter… and one helluva trip!). You could say that I’ve had a writing sabbatical of sorts since April, but I’m back now!
I remember one day just aimlessly mentioning to Fatbee that I felt like watching The Amazing Spiderman 2 (special effects and all) on the big screen. A week or so later, he got tickets for the movie and we watched it. And so that’s how it happened that… after more than half a year of being together, we’d finally gone on our first movie date. Heh… talk about not following the conventional flow-charts of dating!
That’s how we ended up here after the movie… burrowing into giant bowls of ramen before our quiet nighttime walk back to his home.
Aloe Vera $4.00 | Green Tea Spider $4.50
Ajisen Ramen is actually a multi-country chain of Japanese fast food joints specialising in ramen, you can even find outlets in Indonesia and Canada. But now that Melbourne has burgeoned with many fabulous ramen spots such as Mensousai Mugen and the currently famous Fukuryu Ramen, I was curious to see how its fast-food equivalent here stacks against the competition quality-wise.
Gyu Tataki $8.00
Lightly seared Beef served in Ponzu sauce
We started off with a shared entree of gyu tataki topped with minced ginger and drizzled with a citrusy ponzu sauce. The cut of beef used was of mediocre quality. I also thought it could’ve been fresher, more tender and cooked a touch less. Even though I shouldn’t be asking for too much at this price point, there definitely was room for improvement.
Chasyu Ramen $11.50
Ramen served with Extra Chasyu, Egg & Vegetables.
Since I’m not all that familiar with ramen, I decided to go the traditional route with Ajisen’s classic pork belly ramen. What arrived was a generous serve of things that could’ve been better.
First up, as evident from this photo, an overcooked yolk. Next were the unexciting noodles… even though they were firm (which is my preferred texture), they lacked resilience and depth of flavour. And finally despite how thick the stock looked, it wasn’t a meaty-cartilaginous rich kind of broth by any stretch. I’d even venture to say that (bitchiness-alert) it tasted quite a bit like the powdered soups that you’d get when you’re having chicken-flavoured instant noodles.
Spicy Spare Ribs Ramen $11.80
Ramen served with Spicy Spare Ribs, Egg & Vegetables.
While I’m usually more careful with selecting ‘safe’ Asian dishes that I know I’ll like, Fatbee prefers to live dangerously sometimes.
So here’s his somewhat fusiony ramen accompanied with deep-fried chicken ribs and topped with Chinese-y condiments like garlic and spring onions sitting in the same type of stock as my bowl of ramen. It tasted abit like the ramen equivalent of Rose Garden’s spicy chicken ribs on rice, except that the ribs here weren’t as nice.
My expectations weren’t that high when I visited this place because I knew it was part of a chain of shops. But sadly, the dishes continued to fall short from my (already lowered) expectations. The ambience here, however, was a lot more peaceful than the rowdy and crowded popular ramen joints around Melbourne.
And that’s the thing about me… that evening after the movie, all I wanted was a quiet, peaceful meal rather than a deliciously fabulous meal involving crowds and long queues. Hence our once-off visit here.
Yep… I’m funny that way.